Man fights for assets linked to sting

A High Court Justice yesterday reserved his decision in a civil case relating to assets owned by one of the men facing charges after multimillion-dollar cannabis sting Operation Canary.

The hearing comes after police sought restraint of a motor boat and house connected with accountant David Christopher Payne, 42, and his father, Alton Payne.

The house is owned by the father and son. The boat is owned by the Payne Family Trust.

David Payne faces 12 charges arising after police conducted Operation Canary, targeting large-scale commercial growers.

Alton Payne has no connection to the charges or alleged offending.

David Payne has not fought the restraint in relation to his share of the property. However, Alton Payne has applied to sever his interest in the property and exclude his interest from any restraint order.

Alton Payne's lawyer Jeff Walker said no evidence had been given by the detective at the hearing to suggest the house was used as a drug house and there was no suggestion funds to buy the property came from criminal activity.

Justice Simon France said he would give his decision before the end of the week.

The Southland Times